In the world of Ethical Hacking contests, Capture The Flag (CTF) describes a contest where participants take on challenges (network, software, cryptography, etc.) to capture digital flags. Not only does winning this type of contest mean winning prizes and recognition for your skills, but it is also a great way to learn from others.

To participate in contest, it is recommended to have a multidisciplinary team, capable of handling system and network, web and cryptology challenges. It is essential to learn about the types of challenges you may face and to assign team members according to their skills. While it is really important to assign roles to work effectively, you need to rely on each other to get through the challenges quickly.

When you enter a contest, you are often faced with things you have never seen before, such as long strings of mixed characters that make absolutely no sense at first glance; hardware that is totally new to you; strange software that you have to exploit in some way.

When you sign up for a contest, you need to know as much as possible in advance, thinking about the organizers and the type of challenge they might offer you. Since you have no idea what you will encounter once the contest starts, you need to be well prepared.

It is important to already have a range of tools with you, such as scripts for cryptography for example. As for the tools you are going to design in the contest, given the time constraints, the quality is usually not important, as long as it can be made quickly and help you get closer to the goal.

Sometimes by following the logic of solving a challenge you will take a long time and lose the contest. Sometimes you need to know when to step back and explore all the possibilities, even the most unimaginable ones, to quickly solve complex challenges.

Sometimes your seemingly perfect solution fails during testing, so you have to come up with new ideas and start over.  You have to work on your analytical skills and especially train a lot in a team to develop collaborative reflexes. To your keyboards and good luck for your next CTF contests.

Author Souleymane CAMARA

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